She smiles provocatively into the camera. The shutter goes off. The pictures get stored in his computer. Fast forward to 3 months later. She spots her nude photos everywhere online, and her whole world comes crashing down.

If “Tammy NYP” popped up in your head right after reading the above paragraph, you must have missed a more recent report that surfaced in The New Paper about Sun Tan. This blogger posted nude pictures of herself online, complete with grin, tattoos and an adoring photographer boyfriend.

Little did she know, after their relationship soured, her ex-boyfriend failed to shut down their private sex blog, (titled Sextisfy) and instead, turned it into a cash cow, charging those who dropped by for a look.

The disgruntled ex also took to sending their photos and sex videos to Gutterpost, a blogger based in New York. Gutterpost streamed the videos, uploaded the pictures, and made many a reader hunting for a scandal very happy indeed.

Does this spell the start of an increasingly exhibitionistic generation? A generation, which thrives on extreme narcissism and cam whoring?

I think so.

If you disagree, look to the Hong Kong entertainment bigwigs Edison Chen/Gillian Chung scandal again. Oh wait, other celebs Cecilia Cheung, Bobo Chan and Vincy Yeung were involved too. Surely you must have seen Vanessa Hudgen’s provocative photographs? Or at least heard of Paris Hilton and Rick Salomon’s 1 Night In Paris?

Advancements in technology and the resultant cheap prices for cameras have made it so much easier to record moments of our life we want to remember and keep close to our hearts. A few years ago, the top-of-the-line Hasselblad camera was a 39 megapixel moster, and video cameras can capture many hours of footage without a single tape. You have to work hard to find a mobile phone that oesn’t come packaged with a digital camera. Want to take a picture with the birthday girl? Whip out your camera. Fancy a shot with a famous celebrity? Start clicking away. Saving that dance performance for later? Push the “record” button.

So why not pictures of your girlfriend in her saucy lingerie? Or a homemade video of your sexual experiments?

Most youths are so determined in their quest to capture their misadventures, they fail to realise the graveness of the situation should the pictures and videos be leaked. By the time they do, their reputations are already spiraling down the drain.

I feel the lack of foresight on their part stems mainly from pure naivety.

“He won’t sell me out by passing around the pictures.”
“It’s only for our private consumption, we’re not intending to show this to anyone.”
“I trust her, it’s safe.”
“Nobody will find out we took these videos. We’ll keep a close eye on them.”

I’m pretty sure these thoughts were running through Gillian Chung’s and Bobo Chan’s minds when they were photographed, but look how they turned out. Your partner might stick to his/her side of the deal, but your computer technician might not. Worse, your partner might abide by the rules initially, but once his ego gets the better of him, he’ll be off forwarding those pictures furiously to his peers.

Very often, the female gets the short end of the stick. As much as we refuse to admit it, and despite all talk about equality of sexes, the stereotypical view on promiscuity among the 2 genders still exist. If you’re male and you thrive on one-night-stands, you almost earn bragging rights. On the other hand, if you’re female and do the same thing, you’re labeled a slut.

When the Edison Chen sex scandal broke out, Gillian Chung got the brunt of the public scrutiny. She lost her reputation and subsequently, her career. Edison however, got away easy. In the recent Sun Tan scandal, netizens made her out to be a brazen female who was asking for it. Her ex-boyfriend though, escaped their harsh criticism.

One moment of foolishness, a lifetime of regret. It might seem like a brilliant idea then, but once you see pictures and videos of yourself splashed across Google, to be found in future by your prospective in-laws, employers and children, shame, not elation, will be the emotion that hits you.

So no, you won’t be seeing any artistic pictures of me on the Net. Besides, I never did like taking pictures. To me, the best camera is my memory.